This morning I was finally able to upgrade a client’s website from WordPress 2.7 to WordPress 3.3.1. This was a process that was started over a month ago, so I am particularly grateful that it is off the to-do list. It took so long because her hosting company was not running the latest versions of PHP or MySQL so we had to get those upgraded first.
When you use WordPress, it will tell you when a new version is available and urge you to upgrade now. So, how does someone ignore upgrading for so long (version 2.9 was released December 19, 2009)?
Some of the reasons this client didn’t upgrade might sound familiar to you:
- She was running an old theme that hasn’t been kept up to date.
- New features weren’t enough of a motivation to bother upgrading.
- She believed the process was complicated.
- She was busy running her business and didn’t think about it that much.
However, by NOT upgrading, she actually hurt her business.
- She couldn’t install any new plugins that would add usability and profitability to her website.
- The website itself was left open to attack due to the security flaws in the un-updated software.
- And, the emotional attachment to how her website functioned kept her from taking advantage of opportunities that came her way.
If you haven’t ever updated WordPress, you might be wondering, “How long does the process actually take?”
I can safely tell you that upgrading WordPress will take you less than an hour, and possibly as little as a few minutes.
For this client, the process took an entire hour, but that was a two-step manual upgrade. We were upgrading over more than 2 major versions, so I had to do a two-step process: from 2.7 to 2.9, then up to 3.3.1. For the average website, you’ll only need to do the upgrade process once (anything 2.9 and above is a one-step upgrade).
Most web hosts allow automatic upgrade which makes the process really easy and very fast — really just a few minutes. Manual upgrade is usually only necessary if your host doesn’t allow the automatic upgrade (1and1 is one that I know of).
Whichever way you upgrade WordPress, always follow these basic steps:
- Backup your database (just in case).
- Deactivate your plugins.
- Reactivate your plugins.
For complete details on upgrading, read the WordPress codex. If this seems like something you don’t want to handle on your own, find someone to help you. Don’t let your own apprehension over the process stop you from keeping your site updated.